The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards Thursday. “Lincoln” leads the pack with 12 nominations, followed by “Life of Pi,” which secured 11 nominations. Many of the nominees featured ties to the nation’s capital. Ann Hornaday writes:

The Oscar ceremony on Feb. 24 may be Hollywood’s time for self-celebration. But, this year at least, it will be Washington’s night to shine.

Thursday’s Academy Award nominations announcement presented a veritable hymn to the nation’s capital, from the 12 nominations for “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s chronicle of the 16th president bullying the 13th Amendment through a fractious Congress, and Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” (seven nominations) about a nervy CIA mission to rescue American officials caught in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis, to “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow’s taut, complex portrayal of the 10-year military and intelligence effort to track down Osama bin Laden.

“Lincoln,” “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” are undeniably deserving of their nominations on aesthetic, narrative and technical grounds. Each was on my top 10 list for 2012, with “Zero Dark Thirty” taking top honors. Each tells an engrossing, superbly crafted story that plunges viewers into otherwise opaque and unknowable worlds, made distant by time, secrecy or both.

But what should gratify Washington-area filmgoers most about these slices of D.C. history is that they’re not just set here, but that they so enthusiastically celebrate institutions more often mired in dysfunction and public malodor.

What delicious irony that “Lincoln,” which featured a galvanizing title performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, should pay homage to presidential politicking and legislative sausage-making precisely at a time when, back in 21st century real life, Congress is polling lower in popularity than head lice and Nickelback.

Among this year’s Oscars nominees includes Pixar’s “Brave.” Brenda Chapman, Pixar’s first woman director, said she was “overwhelmed and humbled” by the nomination. Michael Cavna writes:

Brenda Chapman tells Comic Riffs she created “Brave” as “a love letter” to her daughter.

Now, the Academy has loved her film right back.

The Pixar film about Princess Merida — a feisty, flame-haired Scottish-tomboy of a medieval archer — was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film by Oscars jurors, the Academy of Arts & Sciences announced Thursday.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled and absolutely thrilled!” Chapman, who co-directed “Brave” with Mark Andrews, tells Comic Riffs on Thursday morning of the nomination.

“It’s bittersweet, but it’s good,” added Chapman, who is the first woman ever to direct a Pixar feature film — but who exited the director’s chair when Andrews was brought in to finish the film. She left Pixar last June, and is now a consultant to LucasFilm.

The Oscars host Seth MacFarlane, joined by Emma Stone, announced the nominations for best director, actor, actress and picture early Thursday. The 85th Oscars will be held Feb. 24th. (The Washington Post)

Pixar has won four of the past five Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film, with “Ratatouille” (2007), “WALL*E” (2008), “Up” (2009) and ”Toy Story 3” (2010). Pixar was shut out of the nominations last year — for the first time since 2005 — and Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” won the Oscar.

If you haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, there’s still time, writes Stephanie Merry:

The Oscar nominees have officially been announced, which gives you approximately 45 days and 10 hours to see all the Academy Award hopefuls you might have missed over the past year. It may seem daunting, but it’s the only way you can complain, come Feb. 24, about how the Academy robbed your favorite flick.

Not all the nominees are now in theaters — best picture candidates “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Amour” open Friday — but many are. Read on for some of the heavy hitters you can see on the big screen, along with review excerpts and links to local showtimes.

Lincoln (Best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best actor, best supporting actor, best supporting actress)

Argo (Best picture, best adapted screenplay, best supporting actor)

Silver Linings Playbook (Best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress)

Django Unchained (Best picture, best supporting actor, best original screenplay)

Keep reading for the rest of the list, plus reviews.

Read the full list of Oscars nominees.


Oscar nominees ‘Lincoln,’ ‘Argo’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ honor Washington process

‘Lincoln’ leads Oscars with 12 nominations, ‘Life of Pi’ grabs 11

See trailers for Best Picture contenders

Where to see Oscar nominated films

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